The use of algorithmic systems raises challenges not only for the specific sector in which they are operated, but also for society as a whole. The right to life, the right to fair trial, the presumption of innocence, the right to privacy and freedom of expression, workers’ rights, the right to free elections, and the rule of law itself, all may be all impacted.

The impact of ‘algorithms’ used by the public and private sector, in particular by internet platforms, on the exercise of human rights and the possible regulatory implications has become one of the most hotly debated questions today.

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Human Rights & Artificial Intelligence - presentation by Patrick Penninckx Head of the Information Society Department for the conference Octopus 2019: Cooperation against Cybercrime, Strasbourg, 22 November 2019

assessing the challenge

There is a wide range of types and applications of algorithmic systems. The extent of their impact on human rights depends on the specific purpose for which they are used, their possible knock-on effects, the way they function, their accuracy, complexity and scale. A system that does not create an adverse human rights impact at individual level may nevertheless have a collective, negative impact on specific groups or the population at large which States should consider. The expert study on the human rights dimensions of automated data processing techniques (in particular algorithms) and possible regulatory implications (DGI(2017)12) of December 2017 concludes that all human rights are potentially impacted by the growing use of algorithmic systems.

Responding to the challenge
Interviews on AI

"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression"

Art. 10 European Convention on Human Rights

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